Growing up, I was always intrigued with the Diary of Anne Frank. I don’t recall when I first read the book or saw the movie. I know it left an indelible place in my heart. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons, I became a history major in undergraduate school. In 1942-1944 Anne Frank along with her family and one other Jewish family remained in hiding in an attic in Nazi occupied Holland to avoid discovery by Nazi’s. Death in concentration camps would be their possible fate, if discovered. As we ponder major disruption to our way of life and difficulty of self-quarantine in our homes, perhaps we should read up on the life of Anne Frank.
Anne Frank was not quarantined in her own home. She and her family remained in a stranger’s home who hid them. Due to the possibility of being discovered, they were not able to make sounds during the day. Any noise might subject them to being discovered and taken to a concentration camp for almost likely death there. They lived over a store. Groceries and necessary items were brought into them by their caregivers.
During the two- year period, Anne grew into a teenager and kept a diary of her life, surroundings, thoughts and feelings. Her outlook on life and people remained optimistic despite her circumstances. She maintained confident in human nature.
Imagine being faced with death from Nazi’s for your religious beliefs and being able to maintain a positive outlook on life. Could many of us do that? I doubt it.
Today many folks are complaining about the inconvenience of being indoors for long periods of time; loss of income; loss of recreational freedoms; loss of our way of life. I fit into all those complaining categories. Yet, we are not hiding immovable with fear that we may be killed by the Nazi police if discovered in our homes.
A few excepts from Anne Frank’s diary will help show us how to take a deep breath and enjoy or relax in the moment:
• “I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”
• “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go …. somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God”
• “There’s only one rule you need to remember: laugh at everything and forget everybody else!”
• “Those who have courage and faith shall never perish in misery”
Anne Frank died in a concentration camp at the age of 15—after Nazis discovered her family’s self-quarantined house. Years later, her father, Otto Frank visited the quarantined house. There Otto found Anne Frank’s Diary.
We must remain optimistic about our future—despite the ineptitude of our government in handling the pandemic. We are being asked to self-quarantine and social distance to help others and our health care system. We must do it with the optimism, confidence and the spirit of Anne Frank.
Another post will be on the resiliency of my slave ancestors while hiding away in houses in the Underground Railroad from slave catchers.
Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer and former prosecutor. Twitter @iamdebbiehines